Winkler's Masen Rempel doesn't really remember when his mom, Sherri, was in a wheelchair when he was little, but he has seen pictures. Sherri lives with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and before surgery and lots of physio, was confined to a wheelchair, which at first, she admits, she hated. She said it was her only way to get around and said it was very helpful, until she learned to walk again.
Masen's grandmother showed him a news article about collecting tabs for wheelchairs and it inspired him to do the same.
Now in grade six, hewas in grade three when he began collecting pop can tabs.
"I started with telling everyone in my school in the morning announcements about my collection and then I handed out a bunch of little cups in every classroom, and maybe once or twice a day, they would bring in one of the cups. I'd get a bag, put it in the bag, and then bring it home."
Sherri said, sometimes when he would come home, his backpack would be heavy from all the tabs he collected.
Masen didn't stop there. He set up collection sites in more locations around Winkler.
"I moved from my school to the Winkler library, and then I went to the Emmanuel Church, and now, the Winkler Arena is helping."
These are three locations where the public can drop off their drink tabs.
Over the last three years, the collection has slowly grown. He recently brought in his second batch of tabs to an aluminum collection site near Winnipeg.
"I've melted around 10 bins. I traded them for money and then I put the money in the bank. Once I have enough, I'll buy a wheelchair with the money."
With a big grin, under his long curly hair, Masen expressed his appreciation for the community support.
"I'm kind of happy that most of the community is helping out. Thank you for all those who are already helping me with collecting the tabs."
He has named his project, Masen's Mission.
Sherri said, so far, they have collected $700 for the project, with a long way to go to raise enough for an approximately $6000 basic wheelchair. Monetary funds are also accepted to go towards the cost of a wheelchair. She has been in contact with Tabs for Wheelchairs in Winnipeg, who will pitch in some money to help the project once more money has been raised.
"I'm super proud of him because this is a huge ordeal that he's taking on and it's just so important to somebody that's going to need it. I'm just very proud of him for that."
The recipient of the wheelchair has not been selected yet as the goal seems a long way off. For those wishing to donate can etransfer firstname.lastname@example.org
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